VegNews Apologizes and Changes Photo Policy

April 19, 2011

They’re done publishing meat photos passing and them off as vegan, and they’ve committed to custom food photography for all their recipes. Just like they should have done all along. I guess their original excuse about not having the money to do it right was bogus.

QuarryGirl writes:

Everyone deserves a second chance. I hope VegNews makes the most of it.

And then continues:

PS: Hey VegNews! If you are reading this, how about giving us the scandal breakers of the year award again? 2011? C’mon! Let’s do this!

Hilarious. I wouldn’t camp out by the mailbox if I were her.

A post-mortem on this mess and its favorable conclusion: QuarryGirl and I—as well as everyone else pushing VegNews to do the right thing—got a lot of criticism for our efforts this week. In its most extreme form, the critique was that with 10 billion animals being brutally slaughtered each year, those of us concerned with the integrity of a vegan magazine’s food photography had taken our eyes off the prize and lost track of what mattered—there are undoubtedly far more important things to fight for, so this dissent within the movement amounted to a colossal waste of energy. We were righting each other instead of fighting for the animals yada yada.

But with the origin of these photographs exposed, I don’t think we had any other choice. My decision to publicly criticize VegNews was based on two factors:

  1. It would be an ongoing source of embarrassment to the vegan movement to have its leading magazine unapologetically publishing new meat photos every month.
  2. Strong public criticism against VegNews would be sufficient to cause a rapid change of policy. You should never tackle a campaign you can’t win, and victory here was a sure thing, strategically important, and well worth the minimal time and energy required.

I don’t think anyone can doubt this turned out for the best.

I’m still a bit pissed that VegNews pleaded poverty in its initial non-apology letter. And since I don’t expect to write about them again in the foreseeable future, I’ll end this by making one final  related point: they should pay their damned writers. I was making $500 or $700 a throw for Vegetarian Times articles all the way back in the early 1990s, back when the dollar was worth a lot more and when vegetarianism was tiny compared to where it’s at today.

If VegNews wants to be a nonprofit with full accounting transparency and source its articles for free, then I think that’s great. But that’s not what’s going on here. Link.

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